In a new series, we at The Brooklyn Game examine the players on this Nets roster that have a decision to make -- and what the Nets can do. Today's look is at Andray Blatche.
What the Nets can offer Andray Blatche:
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Andray Blatche: 73 G, 7 GS, 22.2 MPG, 11.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.03 SPG, 0.52 BPG, .476 FG% .278 3P%, .742 FT%, 18.85 PER, 6.6 EWAI'm not going to lie: the Andray Blatche season grade post took me the longest to complete. Not because I had a lot to write, but because I'm not sure how to grade him. What performance rank do you give a man whose performance defies logic's very nature?
Blatche almost Blatched as Blatche as he Blatched against the Pistons, but it was slightly less Blatche because he Blatched the shot.
— devin kharpertian (@uuords) November 27, 2013
November 30th: If he were a chef, he'd season and cook a 24-oz Porterhouse to perfection and then garnish it with a bowl of raw salmon.
December 10th: Andray Blatche ran the floor behind Paul Pierce, absorbed contact, and flipped up a layup in the first quarter, while adding just the right amount of paprika to his roasted chicken recipe. Andray Blatche caught the ball on the left block, stared at the basket, and threw a shot directly into his defender as he then set his chicken on fire. Blatche put the fire out just in time to give it a smoky flavor during some great possessions near the basket in the third quarter fighting for loose balls, then took some ill-advised isolation possessions during dessert when he poured garlic salt all over a hot fudge sundae.
December 13th: He's an atomic clock encrusted with $1.4 million worth of diamonds that only tells time four days a week. Give him a ton of credit for helping bring the team back in the fourth quarter, and take some away for his ridiculous mistakes in the first half. I give him a "B," which equates to "Scattered Elephant" at the Milford School.
January 8th: How do you give a letter grade to someone that defies the alphabet? He is Schrödinger's Blatche: simultaneously winning and losing the game in his own mind. I give him a B for Blatche, because give me a reason not to.
January 21st: Phone rings.
"Hello, this is Billy King. I'm looking for a player with the size to dunk on Kyle O-Quinn, the range to hit a corner three-pointer, and the total lack of self-awareness needed to do both in rapid succession."
"Hello, this is Andray Blatche, I was referred to you?"
February 12th: Makes Sochi look organized.
March 5th: Called up Billy King and I'm askin y'all
Which court are y'all playin' basketball?
Get me in Barclays and I'm gonna ball
Tonight, messed around and dream shook Gasol
Eurosteppin' on fools every way like M.J.
I can believe, today was a good Dray.
March 12th: ALL ABOARD! Thanks for buying a ticket to the Blatche train, which runs only once every 27 minutes, except we choose the 27 minutes. Instead of train tracks, we run on hopes and Eurosteps, and instead of relying on fossil fuel we burn cognizance and fundamentals. We recommend a barf bag. Enjoy your trip!
March 17th: You don't get out of the way of the Blatche train, the Blatche train builds rails around you, and don't you dare touch any of them because they're all the third rail.
April 2nd: Blatche gets an A+ for his performance of the first two acts of his final project for interpretive dance class "Blatchepedaling," a tragic tale of a man meant to initiate contact and defend against opponent attacks, but instead stuck in a world with invisible barriers between himself and humanity's touch.
April 4th: I WANT THE NEWS, NOT THE WEATHER. MORE LIKE BACON FAT. TIME TO YELLOW SUBMARINE ALL OVER YOUR FACE? DOES THIS GAME GRADE MAKE NO SENSE? NEITHER DOES YOUNG SEYMOUR DEFENDING LIKE YI'S CHAIR, CROSSING OVER LIKE JAMAL CRAWFORD AND HITTING STEP-BACK JUMPERS ON HIS WAY TO THE PHILIPPINES PRACTICE FACILITY.
DON'T TELL ME THINGS GOTTA MAKE SENSE IN BLATCHELAND.
April 5th: Andray Blatche has spent 10,000 hours taking ballet with a matador.
Thanks for the ulcers, Andray Blatche. 82 more next year?
TORONTO, ON. -- Visibly distraught, Nets center Andray Blatche sat at his seat in the visitor's locker room. He gazed at the hoard of media waiting to ask him about the the play: "the pass," a play that'll live infamously in Brooklyn Nets lore, sitting firmly next to C.J. Watson's blown dunk in Game 4 of last year's playoffs.
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Here's a roundup of last night's Nets festivites:
What happened: The Nets thoroughly obliterated a Denver Nuggets team that is a shell of its healthy self, setting the tone early by going up 29-8 after the first quarter and never letting it get closer than 20 points in atypical Nets fashion. The Nets won the second game of a back-to-back on the road, one night after getting spanked by the Portland Trail Blazers without LaMarcus Aldridge and Thomas Robinson and indicating total embarrassment to reporters after the game.
You could tell Brooklyn's intensity was at its peak, and it was clear Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett had no designs of losing this game. The Nets went on to pick up their first win in Denver since Jan. 2007.
Where they stand: The Nets are now 27-29, once again squarely facing that two-games-under-.500 plateau that has plagued them for the last few weeks. They're now 6th in the Eastern Conference, a half game ahead of Charlotte and two games behind Washington, which has won its last five including a triple-overtime thriller over Toronto Thursday.
The stats: The Nets somehow ended up shooting only 47.6 percent, but they held Denver to 37.5 percent and 6-of-22 from deep. The Nuggets had 30 made field goals and 24 turnovers. That race was close for most of the game.
Pierce led the Nets with 18 points. Everyone on the Nets' active roster scored. Yes, that includes Jason Collins, who had 3 points.
If I were a blowhard, I'd say the only important statistic is 1-0, the Nets' record in this game.
Fast breaking the Fast Breakers:
Vintage Pierce: Pierce only had to play 22 minutes, but he was at his peak. He nailed threes from the top of the key and whirled into icy turnaround jumpers at the elbows. The Nets need this Pierce for the balance of the season in order to compete.
Joe Johnson still might not be healthy: Johnson sat out a game at the beginning of February as a result of knee tendinitis. The way he's moving and shooting, it appears to me that his knee is still barking at him. Johnson's not one to complain, and he never made an excuse last year when he bravely battled plantar fasciitis in the first-round series against the Bulls. But it might be best for the team if Johnson takes some time off now rather than soldiering through it. Given Kidd's hyper-conservative tendencies with injury and rest with the rest of his roster, I'm not sure why Johnson isn't getting the same opportunity to heal.
Kirilenko has been working on his granny shot:
I defy you to show me a more Kirilenko shot than that.
Shaun Livingston, doing things: He did things. Nothing worthy of a GIF or video. But he was there. Stuff got done by him. He finished with 8 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, and more than zero stuffs done.
The Alan Anderson/Marcus Thornton Experiment: Alan Anderson didn't play in the first three quarters of this game, and that was notable because he has played in every single game this season for the Nets. He's not shooting well (he's under 40 percent from the field this season and his three-point stroke has been ice cold in February). But I don't think his three-quarter DNP is necessarily a harbinger for things to come. This game was a good excuse to get Marcus Thornton some extended minutes and see what he could do with his new teammates. I doubt Kidd has made a decision either way as to which of them will get the bulk of the backup guard minutes down the stretch of the regular season and in the playoffs.
Andray Blatche wants nothing to do with your piggy-back rides:
Andray Blatche was really good in this game, though: This was a quintessential #TheBestOfBlatche game. Granted, he wasn't wildly inconsistent and unpredictable, but he did all the good Blatche stuff with none of the dumpster-fire Blatche stuff. He had 9 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 steals in 18 minutes. And he drained a three from the wing.
JASON COLLINS HITS A LONG 2:
Go back to Germany, Dirk. Your services are no longer required. Jason Collins got this.
The Nets may have something close to a full roster -- without Brook Lopez, of course -- when they face the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday.
Guard Joe Johnson, forward Andrei Kirilenko, and center Andray Blatche all did physical work with the team in today's practice, getting through without any injuries, according to reports from team practice.
Kirilenko had missed three straight games after reporting to the team with a sore left calf on Wednesday. He told The Brooklyn Game last week that the calf injury had no connection whatsoever to the back spasms he'd felt earlier in the year, and that his back felt "perfect."
Blatche bruised his hip in the first half of the team's 120-95 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder Friday, attempting to return to the game to no avail. He traveled with the team to Indiana Saturday in the hopes of playing, but sat out both Saturday and Monday to rest the hip. Blatche also sat out four games earlier this week after getting sent home for "personal reasons."
Johnson sat out to rest with left knee tendinitis in the team's 108-102 victory over the 76ers, the second game he's missed all year. According to coach Jason Kidd, Johnson had dealt with tendinitis for a couple of weeks, but is "one not to complain" and tried to play through the pain.
Andray Blatche was listed as questionable with a bruised right hip, and is still a game-time decision. He was warming up on the court before Kidd spoke to the media, normally a good sign.
The 2014 Brooklyn Nets don't sulk while down 10 points early in the first quarter. That's so 2013.
This steal and breakaway bucket from Andray Blatche encapsulates that tenacity. Blatche's quick hands on the defensive end led to a steal and a one-man fast break. Instead of passing up to a guard, Blatche went full Blatche and Euro-stepped his way around a defender for the layup. Watch above.
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Here's a roundup of today's Nets festivities.
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As Nets announcer and New York broadcaster of the year Ian Eagle might say, it was TOO. MUCH. BLATCHENESS.
If there's ever been a worse three minute stretch in Andray Blatche's career, please feel free to show it to me. "Dray Live" played just about 180 seconds of the first quarter, racked up two fouls, a behind the back dribble, and an awful airball. After his second foul, Blatche was yanked by head coach Jason Kidd.